How to Paint Behind Your Toilet Tank

As you can see a paint roller will not go behind this toilet tank so the tank must be removed.
As you can see a paint roller will not go behind this toilet tank so the tank must be removed. | Source

If you are painting your bathroom you might have noticed that you need to paint behind your toilet tank. Unfortunately the toilet tank is probably far enough away from the wall that you can notice that the wall is painted so you don’t want to leave it but the darn tank is still close enough to the wall that you can’t get a paint roller in behind it. So what can you do to get that little bit of wall painted? I’ll tell you.

You are going to have to take your toilet tank of off the toilet bowl. The tank is the top piece and the bowl is the bottom piece you sit on. You can do this job yourself if you can get the water turned off yourself and you have a crescent wrench a set of pliers and a flat head screwdriver.

First thing to do is get the water turned off to the toilet. If you have a shut off valve right at the toilet then you’re in luck. This is the easiest scenario. Turn the handle to turn the water off. If you do not have a shut off valve at the toilet you can turn the water off at your water meter if you have access to it. Find the main source of water into your home and you will find the water meter valve.

If you have a shut off valve turn the water off to your toilet right from here. If not then you will have to turn the water meter off.
If you have a shut off valve turn the water off to your toilet right from here. If not then you will have to turn the water meter off. | Source

You can make sure the water is turned off by flushing the toilet and looking inside of the tank to see that there is not any water coming in. now that you have verified that the water is shut off you need to get as much water out of the tank as possible. You can do this by holding down on the lever you press down when you are flushing the toilet. Hold it down until no more water drains out of the tank and into the bowl.

If there is a bit of water at the bottom of the tank that won’t drain out you can use a wet-dry vacuum if you have one to suck the rest of the water out or you could use a large rag or hand towel to sop up the water and then ring it out into the bowl. Do this repeatedly until the tank is empty. I have seen some people use a turkey baster to suck the water out of the bottom of the tank.

Using a large wrench undo the water supply line at the water valve. You can leave the water supply line connected to the underside of the tank.

Referring to the pictures I have supplied you can now look for the two bolts that hold the tank to the bowl and using a crescent wrench and a flat head screw driver loosen the bolts one at a time switching back and forth until the nuts come off the bolts. IMPORTANT: Do not loosen one bolt while leaving the other tightened as this will most likely crack your tank. Loosen one side a bit then loosen the other switching back and forth.

Now that you have the nuts off the bolts you can lift the tank up off of the bowl trying not to spill any excess water from the tank onto your floor.

If you look in this tank you can see where the screwdriver is sitting on top of one of the tank bolts. The nut is on the underside attached to the bowl.
If you look in this tank you can see where the screwdriver is sitting on top of one of the tank bolts. The nut is on the underside attached to the bowl. | Source
This is how your toilet should look after you take the tank off.
This is how your toilet should look after you take the tank off. | Source

Now you are ready to paint the wall behind where your toilet tank was just sitting. When you have the wall painted you can then proceed to install the toilet tank reverse of how you uninstalled it. IMPORTANT: Make sure the sponge gasket attached to the underside of the tank is still in place. If not make sure it sits firmly on the large threaded fitting on the underside of the tank. If you do not do this you risk a leak happening that can only be fixed by taking the tank off the toilet bowl and repeating the process.

When tightening the tank to the bowl tighten the bolts and nuts the same way you took them off. Tighten one side a bit then go to the other side and tighten that side up a bit. Go back and forth back and forth until the tank is tightened securely to the bowl. Make sure not to over tighten or you will crack the tank. Once the nut and bolt feel like they are very tight and the tank does not feel loose sitting on the bowl then stop there.

Last thing to do is to hook the water supply line back up to the shut off valve. Once that is done you can turn the water on slowly to fill the tank. After the tank is full if there are no visible leaks on the water supply line or base of the tank where it meets the bowl give the toilet a flush and to make sure there is no water leaking from around where the tank meets the bowl. If you do have a leak, just tighten the bolts that secure the toilet tank to the toilet bowl and you are good to go.

Before and After Photo's

Before Photo
Before Photo | Source
After Photo
After Photo | Source

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Comments 7 comments

Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 21 months ago from Baltimore, MD

This is a really useful hub. Although I've never had to paint behind a toilet tank, I probably should at some point in the near future. It is just one of those tasks no one wants to do! Thanks for sharing this information!


ezzly profile image

ezzly 22 months ago

This is brilliant ! An area most people just seem to forget about ! Pics are great too really helps show the steps :) tweeting this !


Grant's World profile image

Grant's World 22 months ago from Canada Author

Thanks FlourishAnyway I have seen many bathrooms where the wall behind the toilet is not painted. sometimes it doesn't get noticed but most times it does and it just doesn't look good.


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 22 months ago from USA

You have answered a very important question for someone painting a bathroom. I have seen more than one bathroom where this was actually just skipped!


abbaelijah profile image

abbaelijah 2 years ago from Nigeria

Thanks for this information Sir!


Grant's World profile image

Grant's World 2 years ago from Canada Author

Thank you Sherry. I hope it will help someone.


Sherry Hewins profile image

Sherry Hewins 2 years ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

Very useful information. Thanks!

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